Coast Guard repatriates 23 Dominican migrants

The Coast Guard Cutter Donald Horsley (WPC-1117) and a U.S. Customs and Border Protection dash-8 maritime patrol aircraft interdicted a migrant vessel near Mona Island, Puerto Rico with 28 men of Dominican Republic nationality Nov. 14, 2019. The interdiction was the result of ongoing efforts in support of Operation Unified Resolve, Operation Caribbean Guard and the Caribbean Border Interagency Group (CBIG). (U.S. Coast Guard photo.)

The Coast Guard Cutter Donald Horsley interdicted a migrant vessel near Mona Island, Puerto Rico with 28 men of Dominican Republic nationality Nov. 14, 2019.  (U.S. Coast Guard photo.)

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – The Coast Guard Cutter Mohawk (WMEC-913) repatriated 23 of 28 Dominican migrants to the Dominican Republic Navy in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, following the interdiction of an illegal migrant voyage in the Mona Passage.

Five of the interdicted migrants remain in Puerto Rico to face possible federal prosecution on charges of violating 8 USC 1326, for attempting to illegally reenter the United States, which carries a potential maximum term of imprisonment of 20 years and a fine of up to $250,000.

The interdiction was the result of ongoing efforts in support of Operation Unified Resolve, Operation Caribbean Guard and the Caribbean Border Interagency Group (CBIG).


“We are glad that we were able to arrive in time to safely recover all 28 migrants from this grossly overloaded vessel,” said Lt. Christopher Martin, Commanding Officer of the cutter Donald Horsley. “This vessel could have easily capsized and the people onboard would have had a very little chance of survival since they basically possessed no lifesaving equipment onboard. We appreciate the collaboration and coordination of are CBP partners, which allowed for a prompt response and successful outcome in this case.”

The interdiction took place Thursday, after a Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Air and Marine Operations DHC-8 marine patrol aircraft crew sighted a migrant boat just off Mona Island, Puerto Rico. The Coast Guard Cutter Donald Horsley (WPC-1117) diverted to the scene and interdicted the 30-foot migrant boat with 28 adult Dominican men aboard.

The crew of the Donald Horsley transferred the migrants to the Coast Guard Cutter Mohawk for their repatriation, while the five migrants awaiting prosecution were transferred to the Coast Guard Cutter Joseph Napier (WPC-1115). Ramey Sector Border Patrol agents in Mayaguez, Puerto Rico received custody of the five migrants awaiting federal prosecution.

Once aboard a Coast Guard cutter, all migrants receive food, water, shelter and basic medical attention.

Cutters Donald Horsley and Joseph Napier are fast response cutters homeported in San Juan, Puerto Rico, while the cutter Mohawk is a medium endurance cutter homeported in Key West, Fla.

Operation Caribbean Guard is a Department of Homeland Security multi-agency law enforcement operation to support ongoing efforts in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands being executed under the San Juan Regional Coordinating Mechanism (SJ ReCoM)/Caribbean Border Interagency Group (CBIG).

CBIG was formally created to unify efforts of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Puerto Rico, and Puerto Rico Police Joint Forces of Rapid Action (FURA, for its Spanish acronym), in their common goal of securing the borders of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands against illegal migrant and drug smuggling.


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